Friday, October 24, 2014

Kava bar to open, ciocolat storefront closes

From page A9 | June 22, 2014 |


Owners Tyler Blythe, left, and Travis Lewin stand in front of a mural at The Root of Happiness Kava Bar. They brought Rapa Nui artist Te Pou Huke here to paint it. Wendy Weitzel/Courtesy photo

I toured The Root of Happiness Kava Bar on Wednesday, right after the inspectors. It may be ready for a soft opening by Friday, June 27. The bar, at 211 F St. in the E Street Plaza, is filled with comfy couches, tables and bar stools. The largest wall in the bar features a mural by Rapa Nui artist Te Pou Huke. It’s dedicated to Polynesian, Micronesian and Melanesian cultures, and their love of kava, a root prepared as a ceremonial tea. Kava is touted for calming, anxiety- and pain-reducing effects. The nonalcoholic beverage has a bitter, peppery flavor that makes your mouth tingle. Owners Travis Lewin and Tyler Blythe, who are both in their early 30s, own the only other kava bar in California, The Root of Happiness in Rancho Cordova. They are looking to open a Root of Happiness in midtown Sacramento next. Lewin said there are about a dozen kava bars in the United States, with most of then in south Florida. “This one is the best in the U.S. — period,” Lewin said about the Davis bar. It will serve the drink in several forms, like infused in smoothies or juices, or with added organic flavors such as chocolate or chai. Customers may order it in the traditional tea form as well, but he warns, “It’s an acquired taste.” They’ve arranged for Nugget Markets to cater their food offerings, including salads, wraps, sandwiches and fruit bowls. The bar’s hours will be 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. daily. Like any dietary supplement, research suggests that people use kava with caution. WebMD cites studies saying long-term use may result in liver problems. Although not required by law, Lewin said they check IDs and serve only to those 18 and over. The kava bar has its required FDA certification, Lewin said, and staffers can tell you the origin of every brew. They provide a library of literature so customers can read about the cultural history and see toxicity reports, “for total transparency,” he said.


The beloved dessert house ciocolat at 301 B St. closed its storefront but will continue its catering and cake business. “We’ve been closed for maintenance for about two weeks, but just decided not to reopen the store today,” owner Kate Hutchinson said on Tuesday. “We’ve decided to permanently close the store, and continue to operate our catering, custom cake and wedding cake business.” The store offered truffles, breakfast pastries and specialty desserts, and had a full menu for lunch and dinner. High tea was available by reservation. For catering, there are various snacks, lunch boxes, desserts and pastries and beverages. Visit


There’s new information on Huku Japanese Bistro. Owner Chuck Kim and family still plan to open a restaurant in the El Macero Shopping Center, but opted for the larger space where El Macero Pharmacy closed, the property manager reports. “The Kims’ building permit was ready for pickup at the building department when the Brazil family sold their RXs to Rite Aid,” Mark Engstrom of Engstrom Properties said Wednesday in an email. “The Kims immediately contacted me for the larger location. “New plans needed to be drawn up and will make their way through the city. The new space will be 50 percent larger than originally planned. If all goes well, Huku Japanese Bistro will be open for the holidays in the larger space.” Huku’s concept is for traditional Japanese food with bento boxes, rolls and sashimi.


I spoke with Will Smith, the owner of The Ranch Golf Range on County Road 99, between Covell Boulevard and Road 29 in West Davis. It opened Monday, with the hours of noon to dusk Tuesdays through Sundays, weather permitting. Smith is originally from Laguna Beach. His mom, Summer Smith, owns the property, and farms a couple hundred acres of alfalfa or tomatoes each year. He welcomes beginning golfers, and offers free loaner clubs and pointers. A golf professional, he hopes to offer lessons in the future. Future plans include a putting green. “We’re starting small, and will make it nicer and nicer,” Smith said. Although I can’t mention prices in my column, he says they’re the least expensive in the area. He pledges to give at least 25 percent of the proceeds to the Yolo County SPCA. “It’s a laid-back, cool driving range,” he said, “with some good targets.” Those targets are on turf greens, because the dirt pasture “can’t grow grass at this time.” For more information, call 949-295-8694 or email


APEX Cycles and Service is moving to 716 Second St., the former location of Davis Awards & More. Owner Aaron Curtin said he hopes to be open in the new location in time for the Davis Criterium Classic race on July 4. The new spot will have a dedicated showroom and a 1,000-square-foot basement workshop “where I am hoping to start having bicycle repair classes on a weekly basis,” he said. This is the second time APEX Cycles and Service has moved. It started at 820 Fourth St. and its current site is 912 Fifth St. “We’ve been serving Davis since 2006, and hope to keep going for years to come. Being in the heart of downtown has always been my goal, but being a ‘one-man shop,’ it has taken me eight years to make it happen,” he wrote in an email.


Apparently you can now beef up while you’re bulking up. Davis Strength and Conditioning, 2939 Spafford St., Suite 100, is one of the delivery locations for a new online business called MeatUp, which provides grass-fed local beef and pasture-raised pork to area fitness centers. Marketing to Paleo diet fanatics, MeatUp calls itself a “farm to gym” program, delivering weekly to the Davis gym and two CrossFIT centers in Sacramento. The pork comes from Guinda in Yolo County and the beef is from Hat Creek in Shasta County. For information, visit


Risto Hair International, 325 G St., will expand its services this summer, changing its name to Risto Salon & Spa International. For 20 years, esthetician Tatiana Peshevka operated Torzo, an award-winning salon in Macedonia. Torzo is the name of the new spa room. Her husband, Risto, is the salon’s owner. The spa services may be available as early as mid-July. They include facials and body treatments, makeup and cosmetics, massage, eyebrow and body waxing, detox treatments and body wraps.


Little Prague Bohemian Restaurant, 330 G St., is undergoing some changes. Lunch hours have been eliminated. It opens at 4 p.m. for dinner, a recording says. Employees won’t comment on any changes, and the owners have not returned two calls with requests for further information.


The Woodland City Council on Tuesday approved the sale of the State Theatre, 322 Main St. in Woodland, to a developer. The theater, built in 1937 and shuttered in 2010, will be renovated and expanded into a 10-screen multiplex, according to The Daily Democrat. Some of the auditoriums will feature large recliners, with features like beer and wine service, and a café. Construction may begin in February. — Wendy Weitzel is a freelance writer and editor in Davis. Her column publishes on Sundays. Throughout the week, watch her Comings & Goings Facebook page. If you know about a business coming or going in the area, contact Wendy at



Wendy Weitzel

Wendy Weitzel

Wendy Weitzel is a longtime journalist and Davis resident. She is a former managing editor of The Davis Enterprise, working there from 1998-2008. She has written her Comings & Goings business column since 2001. Today, she does freelance writing, editing, marketing and design.
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